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revealing another narrow passageway. Vance travelled for a mile or more, often regretting his decision to leave the smooth room and nearly turning back several times. He stopped to reconsider his actions when he saw something ahead that made his heart almost stop. Through the complete blackness a faint, blue light shone.

He quickened his pace. The illumination didn't give off enough light to see by, but a definite patch of colour ahead provided hope. After seeing nothing but black for hours, this colour was like an oasis in the desert. When he realized the blue light emanated from around a corner at the end of the passage, Vance sped toward it, elated at finally being able to make out part of his surroundings. Moving forward, he entered a small circular cave, in which strange blue li chen, the source of the glow, adorned the walls.

Not a little disappointed, Vance examined the room, looking at the lichen as it climbed the walls on every side. Relieved at having a light source, Vance mused that an exit would have been much better. Then he saw a tunnel running from the other side of the cave where the lichen continued to grow. He studied the walls, curious to know why the algae did not grow throughout the entire complex of caves. The edges of the lichen looked stripped and torn, as though someone had ripped it up like an unwanted weed. It seemed obvious the Anla'shok had specifically designed the first part of their tunnel system to remain completely dark. If it was intended to spook him, Vance had to admit it was working. He hadn't realised how close he'd come to abject panic. The relief he felt at being in the light, no matter how dim, was close to euphoric.

Vance laid his hand on the glowing blue lichen. It was spongy and, even better, it was moist. Without hesitating,
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